United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Saylor IV United States District Judge.
a § 1983 civil rights action arising out of an attack
against plaintiff Chad Langlois, then an inmate at the
Bristol County House of Corrections, by his cellmate, Manuel
Pacheco. The complaint alleges that the Sheriff of Bristol
County, Thomas Hodgson, and two corrections officers,
Nicholas Drinkwine and Glen Taber, acted with deliberate
indifference and disregard of Langlois's health and
safety. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants
failed to protect Langlois from imminent attack and harm, and
that Hodgson failed to train and supervise his employees. The
complaint also alleges claims against an unknown number of
unidentified employees of the Bristol County Sheriff's
Department as defendants, although it contains no specific
allegation as to any such employee.
Hodgson, Drinkwine, and Taber have moved to dismiss the
claims against them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In
the alternative, they have moved for a more definitive
statement under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) as to whether plaintiff
exhausted his administrative remedies as required by the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). The unidentified employees have also moved
to dismiss the claims against them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
following reasons, the motion to dismiss of Hodgson,
Drinkwine, and Taber will be granted in part and denied in
part, and their motion for a more definitive statement will
be denied. The motion to dismiss of the unidentified
employees will be granted.
otherwise noted, the facts are set forth as alleged in the
relevant times, Chad Langlois was an inmate at the Bristol
County House of Corrections. (Compl. ¶ 7). It appears
that he is no longer incarcerated, and that he was not
incarcerated at the time that he filed this
Hodgson is the Sheriff of Bristol County. Glen Taber and
Nicholas Drinkwine were correctional officers at the Bristol
County House of Corrections. (Id. at ¶¶
3-5). The complaint alleges Hodgson and his agents assigned
Pacheco to the same room as Langlois, despite Pacheco's
history of assaultive behavior. (Id. at ¶ 10).
to the complaint, before the assault, Langlois repeatedly
reported to Hodgson, Taber, and Drinkwine, orally and in
writing, that Pacheco had a weapon and was plotting to harm
him. (Id. at ¶¶ 11, 12). The complaint
alleges that defendants failed to take appropriate action,
neither moving Pacheco or Langlois to a different cell nor
searching Pacheco or his cell for a weapon. (Id. at
October 21, 2013, Pacheco attacked Langlois while he was
asleep, stabbing him repeatedly. (Id. at ¶ 14).
Langlois was taken to Saint Luke's Hospital in New
Bedford. As a result of the attack, he suffered numerous
lacerations and blood loss, followed by scarring, headaches,
loss of sleep, emotional distress, blurred vision, and
trauma. (Id. at ¶ 15). Following the assault,
Pacheco was prosecuted by the Bristol County District
Attorney for assault with intent to murder and assault and
battery by means of a dangerous weapon. (Id. at
¶¶ 17, 18).
filed the present action on October 21, 2016. (Docket No.
The complaint asserts six counts: (1) deliberate indifference
to an inmate's health or safety in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment (as to Hodgson, Taber, and Drinkwine);
(2) reckless and intentional endangerment (as to Hodgson,
Taber, and Drinkwine); (3) failure to train and supervise (as
to defendant Hodgson); (4) battery (as to Pacheco); (5)
deliberate indifference to inmate safety, in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment (it is unclear whether this claim is
asserted against Hodgson only or Hodgson, Taber, and
Drinkwine); and (6) intentional infliction of emotional
distress (as to all defendants). (Compl. ¶¶ 19-57).
February 8, 2017, defendants Hodgson, Taber, and Drinkwine
moved to dismiss the claims against them or, in the
alternative, for a more definite statement concerning
exhaustion under the PLRA. (Docket No. 7). On March 10, 2017,
the unidentified employees filed a motion to dismiss the
claims against them. (Docket No. 12).
The Motion for a More Definite Statement
Hodgson, Taber, and Drinkwine have moved for a more definite
statement under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) as to plaintiff's
exhaustion of administrative remedies under the Prisoner
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. §
1997e. For the reasons below, plaintiff is not subject to the
PLRA and therefore a more definite statement as to that issue
motion for a more definite statement is granted only
“[i]f a pleading to which a responsive pleading is
permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot
reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). “Rule 12(e) motions are disfavored
‘in light of the availability of pretrial discovery
procedures.'” Vizcaino v. Isaac, 2016 WL
1163652, at *3 (D. Mass. Feb. 2, 2016) (quoting Cox v.
Marine Mar. Acad., 122 F.R.D. 115, 116 (D. Me. 1988)).
“The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ‘employ
notice pleading, and, for this reason, motions for a more
definite statement are not favored.'” Id.
(quoting Delta Educ., Inc. v. Langlois, 719 F.Supp.
42, 50 (D.N.H. 1989)).
PLRA requires prisoners to exhaust all available
administrative remedies before filing suit under § 1983
or any other federal law. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). To
satisfy the exhaustion requirement, “prisoners must
‘complete the administrative review process in
accordance with the applicable procedural rules, '. .
.-rules that are defined not by the PLRA, but by the prison
grievance process itself.” Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199, 218 (2007) (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548
U.S. 81, 88 (2006)). Failure to exhaust is an affirmative
defense under the PLRA, and inmates are not required to
specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in their
complaints. Id. at 216.
PLRA applies only to those who file an action while they are
“prisoners, ” as that term is defined in the
PLRA. Greig v. Goord, 169 F.3d 165, 167 (2d Cir.
1999) (“Litigants . . . who file prison condition
actions after release from confinement are no longer
‘prisoners' for purposes of § 1997e(a) and,
therefore, need not satisfy the exhaustion requirements of
this provision”). The PLRA defines
“prisoner” as “any person incarcerated or
detained in any facility who is accused of, convicted of,
sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of
criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole,
probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program.”
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(h). See Page v. Torrey, 201
F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[O]nly individuals
who, at the time they seek to file their civil actions, are
detained as a result of being accused of, convicted of, or
sentenced for criminal offenses are ‘prisoners'
within the definition of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e . . .
appears that Langlois was released from incarceration in
2014. He filed the current action on October 21, 2016.
(Docket No. 1). Thus, at the time the complaint was filed,
Langlois was not a prisoner and he is therefore not subject
to the restrictions of the PLRA. See Tomassini v. Corr.
Health Servs., 2012 WL 1601528, at *2 (D.P.R. May 7,
2012) (“The PLRA's administrative exhaustion
requirement is a precondition to suit; therefore, whether it
applies depends on the plaintiff's status at the time of
filing the  complaint.”); Rivera Rodríguez
v. Pereira Castillo, 2005 WL 290160, at *5-6 (D.P.R.
Jan. 31, 2005) (holding that action filed after juvenile was
released from custody was not subject to PLRA exhaustion
requirement). The motion for a more definite statement will
therefore be denied.
The Motions to Dismiss
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss, the Court “must assume the truth of
all well-plead[ed] facts and give plaintiff the benefit of
all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Ruiz v. Bally
Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir.
2007) (citing Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st
Cir. 1999)). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint
must state a claim that is plausible on its face. Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). That
is, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, . . . on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555
(citations omitted). “The plausibility standard is not
akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Dismissal is appropriate if the facts as alleged do not
“possess enough heft to show that plaintiff is entitled
to relief.” Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharm., LLC,
521 F.3d 76, 84 (1st Cir. 2008) (quotations and original